Ep. 2 – Three Important Questions to Ask Before You Start a Garden

Don’t let the excitement of gardening overshadow important considerations. As a beginner, these three questions will help you set yourself up for success in your garden. Get started today!

Are you ready to kickstart your gardening journey? It’s the beginning of the year, and you’ve made the exciting decision to start a garden! As a recent beginner myself, I understand the enthusiasm that comes with diving right into planning and planting.

However, before you start purchasing seeds, let’s address three essential questions that can set you up for a successful garden season this year! Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or just starting out, these questions will guide you toward achieving gardening greatness!

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Question #1: Why do you want to start a garden

Understanding the “why” behind every goal you set is a crucial step in bringing that goal to life. And this is no different when it comes to gardening! Each gardener has their own unique journey and purpose, so each “why” will be just as unique.

For me, the decision to have a garden was driven by the desire to provide herbal remedies for my family, reducing our reliance on over-the-counter pharmaceuticals. As a medical professional, I believe in modern medicine, but I also believe in the healing power of plants. I wanted to tap into the natural healing properties that surround us.

Another reason was the desire to enjoy fresh, seasonal foods more frequently! These motivations kept me going even when challenges like aphids on my bean plants or mice in my sweet potato containers arose.

Your own “why” will be the fuel that keeps you going through the ups and downs of your gardening journey. I encourage you to take some time and reflect on what inspires you to garden and envision what your ideal garden looks like. Sometimes, your true “why” can be found between the lines!

If you’re still unsure of your “why,” let me share a few reasons why members of our gardening community started a garden:

  • Improve access to organic produce
  • To minimize reliance on commercial produce
  • To teach children about self-sustainability
  • To improve diet
  • To save money
  • Peace, relaxation and slower living
  • Mental Health
  • Gardening is a family legacy

Remember, finding and embracing your “why” will make your gardening experience even more fulfilling and rewarding. Happy gardening!

Question 2: Where are you going to grow?

Location is crucial when it comes to gardening because it can make or break your success. Let me tell you, the location of my first garden was a real challenge! I wanted convenience, so I thought the side yard by my back door would be perfect.

I planned and rearranged everything, thinking I had it all figured out. But guess what? Three-fourths of the sideyard turned out to be mostly shaded. Can you believe it? That meant I had to move my entire garden about 20 feet south in my yard! Talk about a workout!

But that wasn’t the end of it. The location brought critters too. And being so close to my door, those critters were just a few hops away from getting inside my house! Not something I signed up for, let me tell you. So, I decided to move my garden another 20 feet south to the back corner of my yard, where it’s fully shaded and far away from my door.

When it comes to the location of your garden, you’ll definitely want to choose a spot that gets as much sun as possible. Most fruit-bearing plants need full sun, you know? And don’t forget to consider convenience. Make sure it’s a spot that’s easy for you to tend to daily. If it’s not, think about what you can do to make it more manageable.

Remember, the right location is key to a thriving garden!

Question 3: What do you want to grow?

Once you have figured out your why and where, it’s time for the exciting part – deciding which plants to grow! This is where your creativity gets to shine. It’s also where your uniqueness as a gardener comes into play.

Some gardeners prefer to grow edible plants, focusing on what they can eat. Others prioritize growing plants for their beauty. And then some love the allure of exotic plants. As a beginner, I can attest to the beauty of trying different things without overwhelming yourself. Experiment while mostly choosing types of vegetables that you truly enjoy. The first year is all about learning, so enjoy the journey, try new things, and soak up as much knowledge as you can!

In my first year, I grew at least one variety of everything and gained so much insight. For example, I discovered that I don’t enjoy growing indeterminate tomatoes or pole beans. I also learned that roselle isn’t worth it in my climate. These lessons helped me focus on what I do enjoy growing, like bush beans, turmeric, and potatoes! I recommend taking some time to list out everything you enjoy eating and want to try growing. You may not plant everything this season, but it’ll serve as a roadmap for your garden’s future!

Remember, gardening is an exciting and rewarding journey. Embrace your creativity, learn from your experiences, and enjoy the process of cultivating your own little paradise!

So there you have it! As we wrap up this episode of the podcast, I hope you are feeling inspired and excited to embark on your own gardening journey. Remember, success in gardening starts with planning and asking yourself the right questions. Why do you want to start a garden? Where will you put it? What will you grow? These simple yet powerful questions will guide you towards creating a beautiful and thriving garden. And don’t forget, trials and challenges will arise along the way, but with your initial planning and motivation for starting a garden, I am confident you can overcome them all.

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